Tag Archives: Costa Rica private tours

Taking It Slow: In Search of Turtles in Costa Rica

Turtles are known for taking it slow and basking in the sun in Costa Rica. They love swimming in the coastal waters and are sometimes found on the beach, especially during nesting season. If you’re looking for turtles in Costa Rica, you’ll find three different types at Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica. Tortuguero is home to the Green Sea Turtle, Giant Leatherback and Hawksbill Turtles. It’s fascinating to watch the hatchlings crawl from their nests down to the water. It typically happens at night, when the sand is cooler.

Green Sea Turtles

The Green Sea Turtle is one of the oldest species on Earth, existing before even the dinosaurs. They have green skin and brown, black, yellow, gray, green or olive shells. They are an endangered species, also referred to as the Eastern Pacific Green Turtle, and are sometimes simply called green turtles. They are one of the few species that leave the sea and come onto land to sun themselves when they’re not nesting. They are the largest of the sea turtles. Adults commonly weigh in above 300 pounds and can be as much as five feet long. The females nest on the beaches from July to October.

 Giant Leatherback

Leatherback turtles often grow more than three feet long, weighing in at close to a ton. Their large front flippers can grow to be more than eight feet long, giving them a distinct advantage in the water. Leatherbacks are dark gray or black with white speckles and a much lighter underside. The females come ashore between February and June to dig nests and lay their eggs. When the turtles hatch, they all move down the beach, paddling through the surf and into the water. Most males will never return to land. The Giant Leatherback is the largest known living turtle species. It’s a deep diver that spends more than 99 percent of its day swimming. It doesn’t have a bony shell like most other types of turtles. There are ridges on Leatherbacks, but they have no claws in their flippers and no teeth in their mouths. They use spines in the throat and horny points on the upper lip to eat. They are an endangered one of several endangered species protected in Costa Rica

Hawksbill Turtles

The Hawksbill Turtle typical grows up to just under three feet long. They weigh in at a maximum of 200 pounds.  Hawskbills are named for their hawk-like beaks for mouths. They are among the most endangered turtle species, often hunted for their colorful shells. They eat mostly sea sponges, using their sharp beaks to catch them. Hawksbill Turtles are harder to spot around the beaches of Tortuguero, because they like to nest in seclusion about every two weeks beginning in July. They usually build a maximum of four nests per season, laying 150 to 200 eggs per nest.

If you love turtles, and sea turtles in particular, be sure to tell our staff when you’re booking your vacation with Costa Rica Rios. We’ll help you find the best turtle-watching spots to see these fascinating creatures. Contact Costa Rica Rios today to make plans and reservations.

 

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Take a Costa Rica Biking Adventure

One of the more unusual ways to take in Costa Rica is by bike. Because some of the outlying areas have rough roads, a mountain bike is the best option. Seeing the gorgeous countryside at the slower pace of a bike will allow you to get an inexpensive and unique perspective of life in Costa Rica.

There are more than 80 different bike routes to choose from, including gentle hills and rugged mountains. Here are a few areas you don’t want to miss.

Lake Arenal and Arenal Volcano:  This is one of the best areas in Costa Rica for biking. Trails take you through primary forests and waterfalls. There’s also a hot springs nearby where you can relax after a day’s ride. Some uphill routes take bikers on roads normally travelled only by local farmers and horses.

Ruta de los Conquistadores:  One of the world’s most challenging bike races takes place in Costa Rica from Thursday, Nov. 6 to Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. Bikers cross Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast, about 400 kilometers or 250 miles, over three days. Check out the official site for more information if you’d like to follow sections of the race routes.

Turrialba:  Bike routes in this area pass by archaeological sites and refreshing freshwater pools. There are more difficult single rider trails as well as remote backroads. The Pacuare and Reventazon Rivers of the region are some of the most famous in the world for whitewater rafting. There are also several volcanos to investigate.

Irazu:  One bike route takes you from the top of Irazú volcano passing coffee plantations and cattle farms. This is one of the best downhill rides in Costa Rica. The Irazu Volcano National Park has an unusual landscape that almost feels like the moon, with craters lined by scorched trees. There are also sparkling mineral pools fed by rain.

Nicoya Peninsula:  This is an area of Costa Rica that most visitors miss. Biking routes in this area include beaches and fishing villages, as well as coffee plantations. Stop en route to take in some water sports like surfing, fishing, snorkeling and diving. The Nicoya Peninsula is rich with natural assets including  turtle beaches, subterranean caves and excellent birding locations.

For your next Costa Rica adventure, consider a bike tour. What better way to take in the majestic nature of Costa Rica than by traveling in a green, sustainable way?  For more information about adventures awaiting you in Costa Rica, contact us today.

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How Costa Rica Trips Broaden Cultural Horizons

Costa Rica trips have been lauded for years for displaying natural beauty. What doesn’t always come to mind, though, is the value of learning about a new culture. Nothing helps to expand human experience and bring people together like learning about a locale’s unique culture. Costa Rica is no exception.

The culture of Costa Rica is heavily influenced by settlers who arrived during Spain’s period of colonization throughout the world. Although the Spanish language and many Spanish customs still exist, don’t be fooled. This is not Spain. There is plenty of influence from indigenous tribes whose customs, food and languages still live on with the locals.

One of the most important aspects of Costa Rican culture is called “Pura Vida,” or “pure life.” Although that’s the direct translation, the phrase more accurately means “living well” or “This is living.” It can be used as a greeting, a farewell, or even a response to a question, and it portrays the Costa Rican culture well. Costa Ricans live for fun. Whether it’s good food, dancing or a holiday celebration, the Costa Rican love for food, games, and fun is contagious to just about anyone that visits.

This love of parties and fun, of course, means that Costa Rica is marked by a hospitable and friendly people. Our visitors are typcially welcomed with open arms, and it’s easy to find a place to eat, to shop or just watch the waves and feel welcome. The sand, the sun and the adventure aren’t the warmest part of Costa Rica. When you’re thinking of warmth, you should think of the people.

And who can forget the food? Probably the most important is coffee. It’s custom to drink coffee several times a day, even when it’s very hot outside, so you’ll always be able to find a fresh cup. Fresh fruits and vegetables also feature prominently in dishes like Casado, a mixed-variety plate that takes place as the most common dish served here in Costa Rica.

The Costa Rican culture is like nowhere else on earth. With influences from Spanish settlers and native peoples, as well as a culture that emphasizes fun and adventure, you won’t see this lifestyle anywhere else. The food and drink are unique, and the people are warm and inviting. When it comes to broadening cultural horizons, learning about Costa Rica firsthand is something that simply can’t be replaced.

Contact us to  plan a Costa Rica vacation where you can learn more about the culture and customs of our amazing and unique country.

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Wake Up And Smell The Coffee On Your Vacation in Costa Rica 

When you mention Costa Rica, most people may not think of coffee. They envision the warm turquoise waters, pristine beaches or lush tropical rain forests. But Costa Rica also has a thriving coffee industry. And its coffee plantations are a perfect way to immerse yourself into the country’s sights, smells and tastes during your vacation in Costa Rica.

Once coffee was introduced to the nation, its Central Valley quickly became Costa Rica’s coffee-producing center during the late 18th century. The ideal climate and slightly acidic soil provided perfect conditions for the coffee plants to thrive. In only a few decades’ time the number of coffee plantations grew, and exporting to neighboring countries and other continents began.

As word of Costa Rica’s aromatic Arabica blends spread to the rest of the world, so did the country’s export business, which provided a financial boom for the people of this nation. Costa Rica’s growing infrastructure was largely financed by the coffee trade’s success. The “Ferrocarril al Atlantico,” the first railroads to the Atlantic Coast, and the National Theater are often listed as developments made possible by the efforts of the coffee growers.

Today, many coffee plantations in Costa Rica offer tours to educate you on the cultural impact the industry has had on the many facets of life. Whether you live here or your on vacation in Costa Rica, you can learn the entire process of how the beloved, rich cup of coffee is made. Begin with a trip to the growing fields, continue on through a tour of the roasters and conclude by indulging your taste buds with a fresh cup of joe.

Take the opportunity to learn the rich culture and history of the coffee industry in Costa Rica. Contact Costa Rica Rios and let us help you plan your customized adventure vacation.

drink coffee during your costa rica adventure vacation

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Costa Rica Adventure: Natural Perfection Inspires Video Game Designers

“We want to recreate the most amazing nature that you see in any video games,” says Andreas Öberg of Avalanche Studios, creators of the best-selling Just Cause video game series. That’s why he and a team of designers, artists, photographers and sound engineers traveled to Costa Rica in 2013 to gather inspiration for games in development. They knew they would find the perfect backdrop in a Costa Rica adventure.

The crew spent time in and around the Braulio Carrillo National Park, also known as Parque Nacional Braulio Carillo, recording every aspect of their surroundings. They captured the complexity of the vegetation, the precise curve of the toes of a three-toed sloth, even the sounds of the jungle — monkeys, birds and all. With time-lapse photography, they captured the changing patterns of the clouds in the sky and the colors of the sunset over the sea. They used super-slow motion to record the rolling surf and every subtle movement of the water droplets clinging to the rainforest plants, because depicting water realistically is one of the more difficult challenges for video game artists.

As imaginative as these game creators are, they know that nothing beats working with original material. And Costa Rica, with its pristine natural environments, provided them with all of the inspiration they could have hoped for to make an amazing game.

Even though it’s just minutes from San José and accessible via a major highway, Braulio Carillo National Park is one of the most carefully preserved natural places on earth, and one of the most ecologically diverse. It spans more than 100,000 acres with altitudes that range from the beach at sea level to more than 9,500 feet above sea level, encompassing micro-climates from sultry rainforest to misty cloud forest as well as several volcanoes. There are miles and miles of walking trails for visitors to follow and an aerial tram that will carry you if you prefer to see the view from above. Either way, you won’t need a full camera crew to appreciate this spectacular natural beauty!

For a closer look at Costa Rica’s wildlife, the crew also visited the Toucan Rescue Ranch, a licensed rainforest wildlife rescue, rehabilitation and release facility. All creatures are welcome and cared for here — toucans, of course, but also sloths, kinkajous, otters, and even rare and endangered animals like the oncilla, a beautiful spotted wildcat that’s native to Central America.

To experience some of Costa Rica’s incredible biodiversity during your adventure vacation or honeymoon, contact us today!

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A Costa Rica adventure, custom-made just for your family!

When you think of having a vacation with your family, have you considered a Costa Rica adventure? Costa Rica Rios has a package for your adventurous spirit! From surfing the waves to zip lining above the trees; whitewater rafting or kayaking, to mountain biking; lying on the beach or a thrilling canopy tour… Just think, we can put a custom package together for the vacation of a lifetime…Depending on your budget and your ability level, add in your desire for adventure or relaxing, and all you have to do is be there and enjoy it.

So, say your family is made up of Mom and Dad; your oldest is a teen girl; next is a ten-year-old all boy; then there is your three-year-old (surprise!) girl. Oh, and everyone has agreed to bring Grandma, because she’s never been out of the country. OK, Mom and Dad are definitely looking forward to SOME relaxation, and maybe even some romance. Maybe some beach time, and at least one dinner for two? Miss Teen seems bored with almost everything, but her eyes light up at the mention of horseback riding. And maybe some surfing lessons? (Probably a cute instructor.) Now, Mr. All-Boy wants to do everything active…twice! Grandma has heard about the unique shopping opportunities, but has always secretly wanted to learn scuba diving. Hey, she’s not too old! And Miss Surprise? She won’t be able to do some of the activities, but she will enjoy being with her family, doing what three-year-olds do best: being cute!

There are several packages to choose from, like the Week of Adventures, the Week of Rivers Kayak, and the Week of Rivers Canoe, but the best bet for your family of various desires is the Custom and Family Tour.

When you are ready to customize your family vacation at Costa Rica Rios, our knowledgeable and friendly staff would love to hear from you. They will help you figure out what to bring, which additional costs you will be responsible for, and they will help bring the variety of your family’s wishes together. Start here to begin your adventure!

If you have questions, please contact us… We would love to help!

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Why Same-Sex Couples Should Spend Their Honeymoons in Costa Rica

The U.S. Supreme Court recently made two historic decisions regarding marriage. It overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing federal benefits for married same-sex couples. And it ruled that traditional marriage activists had no standing to defend Proposition 8 in California, allowing gay marriage to resume in that state.

Maybe those were enough reasons for you and many others to tie the knot with their same-sex loves.

At nearly the same time as those decisions, a funny thing happened in the Costa Rican legislature. The staunchly conservative body accidentally approved a bill with marriage language approving “the right to recognition without discrimination contrary to human dignity.”

Hello, same-sex unions.

So other than Costa Rica having two beautiful coastlines, verdant jungles, picturesque volcanic cones, and well-developed tourism, why should the country and its political snafus even figure into your same-sex honeymoon plans?

Money. Specifically, dollars that Americans bring in when they vacation in the country. When you book your vacation plans in Costa Rica, tell its tour operators, hotel proprietors, travel companies, and restaurant owners who you and your spouse are, and that you’re honeymooning in their wonderful country because of its supportive marriage laws.

If enough same-sex couples do this, the legislature will see the economic benefit of their “accidental” law and let it stand. And some day, when same-sex marriages performed in any country become legal and binding in the United States, gay couples will both get married and spend their honeymoons in Costa Rica.

Both your honeymoon and same-sex marriage in Costa Rica are worthwhile dreams. Get closer to them by contacting us.

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Useful Spanish Phrases for Your Costa Rica Adventure

While there’s no language requirement on Costa Rica Rios trips, it’s always fun to use a bit of the local dialect, right? Here are a few phrases to get you started; the locals might even mistake you for a Tico/Tica.

Más rápido, maeFaster, dude; may be useful with your whitewater rafting guide if you want to pick it up a notch (loco = crazy, by the way).

¡Pero tengo miedo!But I’m scared! This phrase is often followed by delighted screaming and laughing; say this right before you zip-line across a canopy.

¡Otra vez!Again! You loved that flight through the trees, didn’t you?

Te amoI love you. Surprise your new husband or wife with this phrase on your honeymoon as you gaze off into the Caribbean horizon.

¿Cuánto cuesta?How much does it cost? This will be useful in between adventures if you choose to snatch up a Costa Rican souvenir or two, like a bag of local coffee or artisan pottery.

¡Qué ola tan grande!What a big wave! While surfing, this may mean you either rush out to sea or rush back to shore, depending on your skill level. Or maybe you’re on the beach and want to warn your friends to pick up their towels.

¿Cómo se llama (pointing at something)? – What is that called? When you spot unknown exotic wildlife while snorkeling or hiking, use this phrase to learn their names, or ask about that volcano up ahead or the bright blue butterfly that landed on your bike.

Me duelen las piernasMy legs hurt. Speaking of bikes, your quads or hamstrings might burn a bit from that mountain biking portion of the trip; use this excuse to take a breather and a snap a few pics of the scenery.

¡Qué lindo/bonito!How beautiful! Use while pointing to that view, that flower, that sunset, that bird, etc. You’ll probably be using this one at least every five minutes if you’re not busy catching your breath or laughing.

¡Qué rico! How delicious! Compliment your chef or server, or just rave to your trip companions about the fresh fish on your plate or the fruit smoothie you’re slurping down.

¡Pura vida! – this ubiquitous Costa Rican phrase has a dozen meanings, which makes it applicable in most situations. Literally, it means “pure life” and often refers to the relaxed attitudes of Ticos (Costa Ricans). But it also can be a greeting, an exclamation of approval, a descriptor of how you’re feeling, a synonym for excellent, or just something you scream as you kayak down a rushing river.

For all your other language needs, our staff and guides have got you covered. Find the trip that’s right for you and contact us for more information. ¡Pura vida!

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Plan Your Own Costa Rica Adventure

What would your perfect vacation be? Do you think about riding around on a hot, sweaty tour bus? Or wandering around in a large group of people listening to a tour guide describe a long history of some building? Or are you looking for a wild ride down some whitewater rapids? How about a bike tour of a volcano? A zipline ride across rainforest treetops? What about all of them? Creating your own Costa Rica adventure means that you don’t have to choose just one. You can plan all the excitement you want into one big adventure.

Costa Rica offers all the adventure your family or group can handle. With a tropical climate and a variety of terrain, you can pick from the many activities that appeal to your outdoor spirit. Instead of being stuck in a pre-planned selection of a package deal, you can decide how short or long you want to go for, and what activities you do, creating your own vacation package.

If water is what you are dreaming of, you can choose to kayak, raft, or canoe on the Pacuare River where you can experience the beauty of the surrounding rainforest, with many chances to stop and swim, rest, and take in the views. Rather swim than paddle? You can take advantage of scuba diving or snorkeling in the waters off the Manuel Antonio National Park. If surfing is your thing, try catching a wave in Puerto Viejo. Or include a day to relax at one of the stunning beaches the country has to offer.

Waves and water not your thing? Try taking on mountain biking. You can choose to bike through the cloud forest as you journey to the shoulder of the Turrialba Volcano, with small villages along the way. Or choose to bike through the Orosi Valley. Pedaling too tiring? Try a saddle instead with horseback riding. You can mount up and travel up to the La Fortuna Waterfall or ride to the observatory of the famous Arenal Volcano.

Looking for a ride of a different kind? Zip line rides will have you flying above the jungle. Rise above the treetops to experience the adventure of a lifetime. Experience the rainforest like never before with a canopy tour that takes you across suspension bridges, rappelling down trees and even offers adrenaline pumping zip line rides over the trees.

With these and many more activities to choose from, you can find the perfectly balanced adventure. Take the worry and stress out of planning with all meals, lodging, entrance fees and permits taken care of. No need to have your own equipment or search for guides.  We can take care of everything.  Contact us and start planning your perfect Costa Rica adventure today.

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Top 5 Reasons to Vacation with Costa Rica Rios

1. Adventure

Conquer the Costa Rican rapids while whitewater rafting, paddle through twists and turns in a kayak, take a surf ride on a Caribbean wave. Bike down a volcano, zipline through trees, snorkel along tropical reefs. That enough adventure for you? Then you’re made for our high-adrenaline multi-sport adventure vacation package. Or, if one sport is plenty for you, try a week of canoeing or kayaking through Costa Rica’s pristine whitewater rivers.

2. Romance and Relaxation

Honeymooners rave about our tours, which, in addition to the aforementioned adventure activities, can be paired with plenty of quieter newlywed moments. Stay in a deluxe eco-lodge, enjoy a more low-key tour like the Rain Forest Ridge Walk. Go horseback riding near the Savegre River. Search for exotic critters in Manuel Antonio’s National Park. Simply relax on the beach or soak in hot springs with your amor.

3. Wildlife

Hear that hooting and hollering? That’s a howler monkey in the distance. What about the chirping that greets you in the morning? Could be a White Collared Manakin. Don’t miss the sloths; these funny-looking cuties can be seen at the sloth sanctuary or, if you’re lucky, in the trees during one of your other adventures. While canyoning in the rainforest, you may glimpse the transparent Costa Rican Glass Frog (are those its internal organs!?). Of course you’ll find fascinating fish on your snorkel dive, and you might catch sight of Green Sea, Giant Leatherback or Hawksbill turtles nesting at a marine national park.

4. Food

Pineapples, bananas, mangos, guanabanas. Fresh fish and meat paired with slow-cooked black beans and rice. You won’t go hungry in Costa Rica. Our personal chef prepares your meals daily with locally grown goods. Soon you’ll know the beauty of gallo pinto, frescos naturales, and sweet platano maduro.

5. Culture

From tour guides, to lodging staff, to vendors, and passersby, you’ll meet lots of friendly Ticos (Costa Ricans) willing to share their stories and culture with you. Of course our guides will be especially well-versed in the many facets of Costa Rican life and will be eager to share their knowledge of the country.

Browse the rest of our website, contact us with your questions, then tell your boss you’re going to need some time off.

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